I don’t have any query news. Poor Imogen is languishing, waiting to hear back from various people about how she’s “not a great fit” or whatever.

But I do have other news: I’ve started another novel! I’m quite excited about it. The feel for this one is summer, beachy, and gay af. Very different from Imogen’s wintery, snowy, angsty family drama. My main character is named Astrid and she has a pet raven. She still hears from her dead grandmother sometimes, but the news isn’t good. Intrigued? So am I!

Now that I’m starting my third real novel (yikes), I have a bit of a sense of my process. I come up with a character first, and let her percolate. (I can guarantee that my MC is never gonna be a dude. I like girls too much.) Then I develop a feeling – that includes a setting, my character, her close people, and a sense of how I want the book to feel. I like to make a mood board and a playlist for it at this point to help reinforce the feeling. Then a hook will pop into my head – a first line, or whatever challenge will set the tone in the first chapter, and I get that down. Then I let that sit until the conflict of the book makes itself known. After that, I can start writing.

I’ve tried outlining and the snowflake method, but I work a lot better when I work off my feeling and more or less pants it, developing my outline as I go. I take a lot of notes, but in general I can craft a novel that follows the three-act rules without needing the structure worked out ahead of time. My books tell themselves, and a big part of my process is making the space for the story to come forth. If I’m working too hard or stuck, that means I lost the thread and I have to delete.

So here I go again; I’ve got my Scrivener doc formatted properly, I’ve got my playlist, I’ve got my characters. Astrid has a pet raven and a girlfriend and a bitchy sister and a nemesis. Ariana Grande and Roxy’s aesthetic are basically where I’m starting. Stay tuned!